The patient is in excellent condition, and went home after his biopsy followed by Gamma Knife surgery, UPMC officials reported.
UPMC treated its first case in 1987, a patient with an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
Since 1987, and particularly in the last 15 years, UPMC has used Leksell Gamma Knife to treat almost 4,000 patients who had one or more metastases. Although historically, clinicians have turned to Gamma Knife surgery when whole brain radiation therapy fails or if new tumors arise, this non-invasive technique is rapidly becoming the first treatment option, Dr. Lunsford noted.
"Where Gamma Knife surgery is available, I suspect more than 50 percent of patients will receive this therapy as the primary treatment for newly diagnosed cancer that has spread to the brain, to avoid the known long term cognitive decline associated with whole brain radiation," he said.
Advances in imaging technology, such as MRI, enable doctors to detect metastases at earlier stages of cancer evaluation, before the tumors become large and begin to cause symptoms. This development, coupled with Gamma Knife precision, has led to its increased use to treat brain metastases.
"With Gamma Knife, patients whose cancer has spread to the brain now have an excellent chance that the problem can be controlled," Dr. Lunsford observed. "Doing less invasive surgery is a way that we can definitel
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